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Message Board > Sewing Techniques and Tips > Pressing ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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Pressing
A well meant nag
Stitchology

Stitchology
Intermediate
MD USA
Member since 1/26/03
Posts: 3678
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Date: 4/8/04 9:54 AM

Looking at project photos of patterns that are reviewed I see too many nicely sewn and fitted garments that end up looking clumsy and unfinished because the seams haven't been pressed. There are two parallel lumpy ridges with a ditch in between, often with puckers. It's so easy to make a beautifully finished seam and have your finished garment drape much better if you'd just take the trouble to press those seams and do some shaping on contours.

You don't need a lot of fancy equipment or space. For years I pressed on my kitchen table over a few layers of towel. All I could afford was a cheap iron and a sleeve board. For a seam roll I used a rolled towel, for a pressing ham I used a wadded up towel. After about 40 years I found pressing gadgets at a flea market for 25 cents each and don't really find them all that much better. They aren't as flexible about size and shape and are a pain to store. You can get a spray bottle at a dollar store to use with any iron. I'm still using my $15 iron that I bought about 20 years ago.

I am not a clothes horse and the fashion police are constantly on my tail. But I AM proud of my creativity and technical skill and want my work to yield something well made and expert looking. You can change "Did you make that?" into "You made that?!"

------
Buy the best and you only cry once.

Sew it seams
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Sew it seams
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Date: 4/8/04 10:13 AM

I mutter to myself about the shape of my pressing ham every single time I press the princess seams at the bust of any garment I am making. I never thought of wadding up a towel to get the right shape. This is a great tip. Thanks!

Georgene
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Georgene
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Date: 4/8/04 10:16 AM

For me, underpressing, or "press as you go" is the secret to a better looking finish.  If you wait until the end to press your garment, chances are you will not get all the structural pressing as smooth as you might like.
There have been many tips given about pressing and under pressing, both on the message boards and in the tips section.  Still, there are those who have not yet gotten the message.
This would be a great interactive sewing class..."Secrets of Garment Pressing for a Better Finished Look".

GorgeousFabrics
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GorgeousFabrics
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Date: 4/8/04 10:21 AM

Hear hear!  Roberta Carr once said "Pressing is sewing!"  It took me years to appreciate that fact, but the difference it makes in the quality of the garments is HUGE!

Okay, I'm off the soapbox now. :)

Ann

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Gorgeous Fabrics - the name says it all!
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Nikki
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Date: 4/8/04 10:30 AM

I found it much easier to press during construction after I acquired one of those tabletop ironing boards. This lives next to the sewing machine, in my sewing nook, so I don't even have to walk across the room. If I am doing something large or intensive, I will set up my full-size board, but the mini board is great for quick projects like knit tops, or for short sewing sessions.

I would be interested in a hands-on class in pressing techniques, but these don't seem to be common. I tend to have problems pressing things like binding and flat-fell seams, ending up with burned fingers and an unevenly pressed edge.

------
mmmmm woooool

Elona
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Date: 4/8/04 10:33 AM

Agreed!  Carefull pressing as you go can make may procedures--even the simple construction and application of a shirt collar, for example--both easier and better looking when they're done.

Sew it seams
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Date: 4/8/04 10:42 AM

I agree totally with the "press as you go". I actually enjoy pressing each seam as I sew because it gives me some sort of sense of satisfaction in seeing the garment develope neatly. That was one of the first things I remember my mom telling me when she first taught me to sew as a very young girl. I just finished my DD's prom dress. I serged around a square of organza to use as a pressing cloth. Using the teflon soleplate cover on my iron, steam, and the organza press-cloth, the long seams on the med. wt. poly-satin gown came out beautifully, as well as those awful center fold marks. (I'll post a review soon.)

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Date: 4/8/04 12:27 PM

I am a 'press as you go' gal too. I like pressing. It never occured to me that someone might not like it until I was helping a friend make a skirt and I said "and now we press that seam" and she said "Again?!!" We were not pressing the same seam either- it was funny. I told her half of sewing is pressing!

Incidently her skirt came out wonderful! I wish I had a picture of it.

I find satisfaction in pressing- not just in construction but also in finished garments- although I have to admit I enjoy pressing garments I have made more than I do RTW.  :smile:

Gina Marie
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Gina Marie
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Date: 4/8/04 12:32 PM

Are you talking about moi?  :0

I press as I sew, but often don't review a garment until AFTER I have worn it, so I can best tell you what worked and didn't.  But then I usually just photo it and review and and don't re-press it !!

------
~-=*( Gina )*=-~

Mommy to Felix.
Surprise due on October 18, 2006


See my updated site !!
SewEclectic.com

shard

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Date: 4/8/04 12:50 PM

I'm not a technically brilliant seamstress, but my stuff always looks ok when I'm finished, because I took to heart what I was told about pressing in my high school sewing class:

"You *must* press as you go.  In general, you will spend more time at the ironing board than at the sewing machine."  In my life it makes the difference between "that's a nice skirt" and "did you make that?"  And it's one of my greatest pleasures in sewing, because at the ironing board I can feel the garment take shape under my hands.

StitchMD, have you any tips for hard-to-press fabrics?  Do you have a home-made version of a point presser/clapper?

There are some really wonderful pressing tips on this site.

------
zzz...

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